Climatically, South Africa remains a water-scarce country and this is compounded by difficulties it continues to face in the equitable and efficient delivery of water and sanitation services.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), a growing population increasingly inclined to migrate towards the cities and peri-urban areas, growing industrialisation, climate change – entailing a precarious balancing act between water provision for industry, agriculture and mining, as well as the provision of water for domestic use – make long-term planning for security of water supply difficult.
Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has admitted that the DWS has not lived up to its mantra of ‘Water is Life. Sanitation is Dignity’ in as far as the provision of water and sanitation is concerned. Further, some analysts contend that the country's worsening water crisis is set to be far worse than State-owned power utility Eskom’s energy crisis. This is in light of inadequate water infrastructure maintenance and investment, persistent climate change-driven flooding and years-long droughts, inequality in access to water and sanitation, deteriorating water quality, pollution, and corruption that exacerbates inefficient use, waste, leaks and unsuitable infrastructure.
Creamer Media’s ‘Water 2022: A system under pressure’ report provides a global overview of the challenges and opportunities facing water and sanitation systems around the world. In particular, the report focuses on South Africa’s impending water crisis and the status quo around water regulations and policies, planning by government and its aim of eliminating any further portents of a “Day Zero”. The report also highlights some of the major water and sanitation projects under construction, as well as the funding thereof.